One New Thing: Embrace the Octothorpe

One of my new year’s resolutions is to share something new, inspiring, or interesting each week in a blog post. It might be a list; it might be a link; it might be a story that feels worth sharing. It might only be tangentially related to the most serious topics in education. That being said, I’m in the business of learning, and this is my space to share what I’ve learned, both serious and silly.

This week’s installment tends toward the serious. This year, I want to get better at participating in the weekly educator chats on Twitter. There are a lot: there’s one about special ed, there’s one on design thinking, another on edtech, and tons of others. These weekly meetups have their own hashtags, which is what makes them possible to follow in Twitterlandia. They’re also loosely guided by a moderator who will pose questions (Q1, Q2, Q3) that attendees can answer one by one (A1, A2, A3). People can use those chat hashtags at other times too, of course–and they do–but, in real time, it’s a neat way to host a virtual meetup for many people interested in the same thing.

Tonight, I made a point to be on my computer for the weekly Design Thinking (#dtk12chat) event. So far, I mostly lurk and retweet, which seems right for now: I love design thinking, but I’m not an expert practitioner, so I’m joining the conversation to listen and learn more. Perhaps I’ll have something to contribute later tonight or in a few weeks, but for now, it’s surprisingly satisfying and thought-provoking to read, refresh, and read some more. Reading these tweets feels a lot of like the Tech Salon at Convent, which is an elective gathering of teachers focused on innovative tools and strategies for thee classroom. No one was required to be there, but, to me, the conversations always seemed vital to our work. These chats have a similarly energetic tone. It’s fun and inspiring, even if I’m just there as a listener. It’s a fun way to be a fly on the wall and learn something too.

As for the octothorpe: did you know that that’s another–and better–name for the hashtag? Read more here, or listen to the world’s greatest podcast that isn’t Serial to learn more.

#themoreyouknow (Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.)

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